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  • feedwordpress 00:19:11 on 2016/09/22 Permalink
    Tags: AARON RENN, , , , , , , , Debunking Innovation Theories, environment, , innovation comes from the edges, james clear, John Carpenter, john hagel, Katy Lynch, metaphors, pearls of wisdom, peter thiel, , Roosevelt University, Scott Kleinberg, Shia Kapos, silicon valley, , stategy, strategy, , texas, the edge of innovation, thiel   

    Dear Chicago: Embrace the Edge 

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    Dear Chicago: Embrace the Edge

    Last week, Peter Thiel casually and brazenly denigrated Chicago, hyping Silicon Valley while speaking at a Roosevelt University Chicago event:

    In Thiel’s own words: “If you are a very talented person, you have a choice: You either go to New York or you go to Silicon Valley.”

    Chicago has reacted with numerous self-depricating or defensive articles.

    Buck up, Chicago.

    According to the IRS, Five MILLION people have left California in the past decade. The exodus equates to a whopping net loss of $26 billion in annual income for the state. The majority headed to one of five states: Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Washington.

    The reason for the California exodus is no secret: exorbitant housing costs, a housing shortage, the second lowest home ownership rates in the country, high taxes, statewide unemployment higher than the national average, low wages, fiscal instability, systemic gender/race discrimination, increasing business regulation, not to mention a dearth of companies solving *actual* problems, severe droughts, a water shortage, earthquakes, dry lightning, and accelerating ozone pollution levels (also among the highest in the country).

    Peter Thiel paints a rosy picture of Silicon Valley. Meanwhile Silicon Valley’s restaurant industry is literally starving.

    Location is everything. Research has proven that environment has a surprisingly strong influence on success. Unless you fit the Silicon Valley’s very narrow niche “mold for success” (read: white, educated, technology-savvy males under age 40 — age 50 if you are lucky enough to be a VC — with money and family connections), look elsewhere for opportunity. The folks in Silicon Valley are not more talented; they’re merely more insular, provincial, protectionist, and elitist with regard to membership in their private club.

    Remember folks: DIVERSITY DRIVES INNOVATION and INNOVATION COMES FROM THE EDGES. In the words of brainy entrepreneur James Clear: “Life is a game; if you want better results over a sustained period of time, play the game in an environment that favors you.” James also wisely once advised: “worry not — aim for the subtle art of not giving a f*ck.”

    Embrace the edge, Chicago. Don’t kow-tow to Silicon Valley pundits and bullies. You’re better than that.

  • feedwordpress 22:06:56 on 2015/12/30 Permalink
    Tags: agile, , business strategy, change agents, , , corporate change, Debunking Innovation Theories, , , lean innovation, lean startup, prosci, stage-gate   


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    PROSCI change methodology has been widely used in both private and public sectors to manage “the people side of change.” The methodology is based on three phases: (1) PREPARING FOR CHANGE READINESS, (2) MANAGING CHANGE, and (3) REINFORCING CHANGE. But PROSCI is fast becoming a relic – a dogmatic, outdated methodology based on old school management and business strategy perspectives that should be deemed obsolete.


    Change has become much more multi-faceted. In today’s fast-paced, fiercely competitive world — a volatile world where ambiguity and fluctuation abound with an ever-accelerating rate of technology adoption — change is inevitable and constant. All organizations change, regardless of whether employees are “prepared and ready.”

    Executives and HR managers can no longer prod or coax people to change — and they can’t afford to wait until employees are “prepared and ready” for change. Neither can they merely be content to “manage” change; they need to be ahead of it. Implementing a three-phase change management control process, project workstream, and checklist will leave you the equivalent of three (or more) phases behind in the dust, struggling to recover pace.


    Beyond communicating a clear vision, allocating the right resources, and aligning performance management systems, the key to successful organizational change is removing barriers and creating circumstances in which employees’ inherent motivation and drive is freed and channeled toward achievable goals. Every single day. Doing so requires a shift in perspective; where employees are not merely informed about change or trained to manage/handle change but rather deemed to be an integral active component of the entire change equation.

    Instead of managing change, you need to lead through change and create it. “Change management” has shifted to “change leadership.” You need to recognize that in today’s brave new world, every employee — top to bottom in your organization — is a change agent and a valued member of your “continuous change team.” As are your customers.


    When it comes to strategic methodology obsolescence, ANYONE who professes to have the silver bullet solution in today’s volatile, uncertain world is selling you a half-sighted, flawed manifesto. For instance: practicing lean startup without acknowledging/integrating aspects of design thinking, agile, stage gate, and other “best practice” methodologies will only impede your company’s capacity to innovate and create what’s next.

    An organization’s ability to adapt and integrate MULTIPLE strategic methodologies — or better yet customize their own approach based on their company’s unique capabilities, current environment, and future market potential — will define its’ ultimate competitive advantage.

  • feedwordpress 17:40:39 on 2013/11/20 Permalink
    Tags: adjacent possible, center for talent innovation, , Company culture, , Debunking Innovation Theories, dissent, diversity, diversity prediction theorem, , , scott page, thanksgiving   

    Be Thankful For: Diversity and Dissent 

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    Be Thankful For: Diversity and Dissent

    “A peaceful, harmonious workplace can be the worst possible thing for a business because it leads to complacency, the biggest predictor of poor company performance.”

    - Harvard Business Review (“How to Pick a Good Fight,” December 2009).

    While the Thanksgiving holiday is riddled with myths — a fairytale of friendly pilgrims dining with Indians — it’s a perfect time to reflect on diversity.

    Diversity and dissent drive innovation. Successful companies embrace diverse perspectives and promote a systematic process of constructive criticism.

    According to a September 2013 Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) study:

    • Companies that demonstrate leadership diversity are 70 percent more likely to capture a new market and 45 percent more likely to improve market share.
    • When companies encourage/reward diversity and dissent, employees are 3.5 times more likely (67 percent versus 16 percent) to contribute their full innovative potential.
    • Ideation teams are most successful when they mine a talent pool of people whose non-mainstream backgrounds lead to new interpretations and points of view.

    Diversity and dissent light a fire to innovation because they increase perspective, improve problem-solving abilities, and boost potential for better solutions and big breakthroughs. They expand your set of the “adjacent possible” — what is possible next given existing conditions and knowledge. The GREATER the diversity the better, according to the Diversity Prediction Theorem.

    For this reason, RE:INVENTION’s team is comprised of former Fortune 100 company execs, leading technologists, lean entrepreneurs, MBAs, engineers, and design thinkers. When we conduct Innovation Incubation Labs for our Clients, our team’s diversity propels fresh thinking. And our team conducts feats of strength (ala George’s family on Seinfeld) during the holidays to facilitate tension.

    Ok. So we don’t really do that last bit. Joe, our Business Intelligence and Technology Practice Leader, would win every time if we did (he competes in Iron Man competitions).

    Want to create a company culture of diversity and dissent? Deloitte’s 2013 “Diversity Report” recommends: hiring with debate in mind, giving employees permission to disagree, sponsoring reverse mentorship programs, shifting to team-based evaluation, and rewarding successes that are a result of diversity.

    Do you agree or disagree?

    If you are interested in diversity training, consider this online course from noted University of Michigan professor Scott Page. For the record, I really like today’s blog image featuring two sparring turkeys. What did one turkey say to the other? Nothing. Because turkeys can’t talk.

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